Health Insurance: Shopping for Long Term Care Insurance

If you couldn’t bathe, feed or dress yourself because of a stroke, Alzheimer’s or some other disabling event, would you have the financial wherewithal to pay someone else for your daily needs? The average cost of a year of nursing home care is $66,000. If you’ve seen what’s happened to the price of a loaf of bread in the past 20 years, you can bet that the cost of long term care will be considerably greater in 2029 that it is today. And if you’re counting on Medicaid or Medicare to pay for your long term care, forget about it. Even if they’re still viable in 20 years, Medicaid only provides those sort of benefits to low-income people with few financial assets, and Medicare only provides a limited amount of skilled help under very limited conditions. Do yourself a favor and start shopping for Long Term Care Insurance coverage.

Look for a reputable, experienced provider of individual comprehensive long term care insurance coverage Usually available with premium payment options (annual or incremental), these long term care insurance policies cover just about every type of service, typically don’t restrict where you can receive care and stay in affect for as long as you pay the premiums.

When should you invest in long term care insurance? You’ll have to weigh this decision against your personal and family health history. The longer you wait, the higher the premiums will be, but if you’re in reasonably good health and come from a healthy family, you may not want to delay the purchase until you’re nearing retirement. Just be aware that the premiums will climb steeply after age 65, even if you’re in great health.

How much long term care coverage will you need? Before you start shopping call around to nursing homes in the area where you plan to spend those golden years to get a general idea of what things cost now. You can get a long term care policy with an option to pay you 5% a year compounded, which should keep up with anticipated nursing home cost increases, but this will add significantly to the cost of your premium. You should be aware that while you certainly can buy a long term care insurance policy that will pay for 5, 10 or 15 years of care, the vast majority of people over 65 who enter a nursing home usually leave before 5 years are up.


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